A fusion of food, travel and photography.

California, Here I Come!

It’s the time of year when frequent fliers check their mileage balance to be sure they will have enough miles to qualify for elite status for the following year. I have already earned my Gold status for next year but my partner was going to be a few miles short.

Sunset in Venice, CA

The purpose of a mileage run is to fly somewhere, preferably on a sale fare, strictly for the miles the flight will earn. On Thanksgiving weekend we flew to Los Angeles for the roughly 2,000 miles each way. My best friend from childhood lives in the area so it was a great opportunity to catch up on old times.

Since we were only in town for 3 nights and were on a budget, we opted for a deal at the Marriott in Marina Del Rey. Recognizing that  having a few drinks with dinner, then driving back to the hotel is never a good idea, especially in a strange town and in a rental car, we chose to walk to the restaurant street in neighboring Venice, CA.

It didn’t take long to research the area’s offerings so we quickly found three promising options. Unfortunately each had a wait of at least one hour or more. That night we chose a less popular establishment where we could be seated immediately as we were tired, hungry and jet lagged. The meal was perfectly acceptable, but we couldn’t help but wonder what all the fuss was about at the hard to get into joints. So, we made a reservation for the following night at one of the hip, trendy places where we were able to snag one of the last available tables for that night.

Butter Lettuce Salad

The Tasting Kitchen is indeed hip, attractive and trendy. The menu is simple with an emphasis on pasta. The five meat specials were all in the $30+ range so we ordered a salad and stuck with pasta dishes, which were also rather pricey. It didn’t help the mood of the evening that it took almost 30 minutes for our salads to be served. Couple that with the fact that the butter lettuce salad was $11.00 and was just an average salad and you begin to get the idea of where this post is going.

The pasta dishes arrived after another noticeable wait and my first thought was that they were appetizer portions. My Tagliatelle with roasted pork was tasty enough, and the Tagliarini with crab was spicy and flavorful, but not really anything to write home about. I kept wondering what all the fuss was about and why anyone would ever wait for an hour and a half for a table at this restaurant.

We left the Venice food scene wondering if we had become so jaded that we could no longer appreciate a good meal when we ate one, or if the area simply didn’t have enough good restaurants to force each other to constantly raise their standards in order to survive and flourish. I felt bad sad for the residents of Venice and Marina Del Rey. Of course they do have stunning sunrises and sunsets most every night so I guess I don’t feel so bad after all.

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